A person is as old as its vessels!
With advancing age also our vessels change. Deposits form, the arteries narrow and lose elasticity. Up to a certain degree these changes are normal. But if an arteriosclerosis has already developed – colloquially known as hardening of the arteries -, the consequences can be fatal. Almost half of all deaths in the western world are a result of consequential diseases of arteriosclerosis. Amongst others, these include painful changes in the peripheral vessels – especially in the legs and pelvis -, high blood pressure, angina pectoris, cardiac insufficiency, heart attack and stroke.
The most important risk factors for arteriosclerosis are permanently high triglyceride values of over 150 mg/dl, or 1.7 mmol/l, low HDL-cholesterol levels of less than 60 mg/dl or 1.5 mmol/l or an excessive homocysteine value, i.e. higher than 8 mmol/l.
Causes and development of arteriosclerosis
Due to our modern, hectic lifestyle our need for relaxation, a balanced diet and movement often comes up much too short. The result: We constantly set ourselves under pressure and recover much too seldom, so that we are under constant stress. Thereby an increase in free radicals is formed in our body which, amongst other things, damages the vascular walls and therefore promotes the development of arteriosclerosis. Our organism is also flooded with free radicals from environmental toxins and nicotine and the homocysteine level then rises to over 8 mmol/l; a further indication for the development of arteriosclerosis. In addition, cortisol is increasingly produced under chronic stress. Cortisol ensures that we always have enough sugar available as an energy supplier. This causes the blood sugar level to rise, which in turn damages the inner vessel walls. Moreover, an excess of free radicals causes an oxidation of the blood lipids, which also results in vascular damage.
These injuries to the inner vessel walls are ultimately decisive in the development of arteriosclerosis. As with an external wound our body reacts to it with repair and inflammatory processes, to set the healing process in motion. Through storage of cholesterol, triglycerides or homocysteine it tries to seal the resulting micro-fine cracks in the vessel walls. It also activates coagulation factors in order to prevent blood leaking from the vessels. This automatically leads to the hardening and obstruction of blood vessels and consequently to an increase in blood pressure. The increased blood pressure, however, leads to further damage of the arteries. This vicious circle can only be broken by eliminating the causes of disease.
If one wants to combat arteriosclerosis it is extremely important to reduce the production of free radicals and to strengthen the connective tissue so that the vessel walls remain intact. Therefore it makes sense to increase the content of HDL cholesterol in the blood, and/or to reduce the triglycerides and the homocysteine. Medicinal mushrooms are particularly suitable for this purpose.
Medicinal mushrooms can remedy the causes of arteriosclerosis
One of the most important fungi both for prophylaxis and in the treatment of arteriosclerosis is the Shiitake. This medicinal mushroom has very good connective tissue strengthening properties. As our vessel walls consist of connective tissue to a large extent, it can thus efficiently prevent vascular damage caused by free radicals. Using the Shiitake we can therefore counteract the primary cause of arteriosclerosis development. This effect is exacerbated by the fact that the Shiitake favourably influences blood lipid levels. It lowers total cholesterol levels and raises the HDL cholesterol value that is positive for the body. HDL transports fats from the small vessels back to the liver, so that they can be metabolised. Deposits in the arteries can thus be prevented, and good circulation is ensured.
The Maitake medicinal mushroom also reduces total cholesterol levels in the blood and triglycerides as well. It also hinders the decrease of HDL levels and facilitates the reduction of plaques. Maitake has therefore proven itself especially for people suffering from obesity, fatty liver and elevated triglycerides.
Another contributing factor to arteriosclerosis is a high homocysteine value. In this case, the Pleurotus medicinal mushroom is recommended. It is rich in folic acid and B-vitamins and therefore helps to better break down excess homocysteine. It also helps to protect the vessels.
Auricularia as a natural alternative to blood thinners
The improvements to blood circulation properties through use of the Auricularia mushroom are exceptional. It can hinder the agglutination of platelets, expand the vessels and reduce the blood lipids. Thus, the formation of blood clots is hindered, and blood circulation is promoted.
Auricularia can definitely be used as a natural alternative to blood thinners without the likelihood of an increased tendency to bleeding. In contrast to Shiitake, the causes of arteriosclerosis cannot be directly resolved with this medicinal mushroom, but with an existing arteriosclerosis it significantly improves circulation and reduces the risk of thrombosis.
Reishi has a balancing and anti-inflammatory effect
If symptoms of stress such as restlessness, tension or insomnia are in the foreground, Reishi should definitely be included in the therapy. It calms the nervous system and thus reduces tension in the blood vessels. Through stress reduction fewer free radicals which favour the inflammatory process are formed in the body. Reishi reduces the formation of chronic inflammation in the vessel walls and therefore acts against vascular damage. Furthermore it works on lowering the total cholesterol and promotes a higher oxygen saturation of the blood, which is a positive effect on cardiac activity.
The effects described are based on the ingestion of medicinal mushroom powder which is prepared from the whole mushroom. Please seek advice from your therapist before using.